Tom Tutton explains why the third Monday of January isn’t actually the most depressing day of the year.

In recent years, the third Monday of January has become known as Blue Monday. This is a snazzy term for what has supposedly been scientifically proven to be the worst – or ‘most depressing’ – day of the year.

The problem is that it’s absolute nonsense.

Blue Monday was actually coined back in 2005 by a British travel company, Sky Travel, in an effort to get people to book holidays.

The date was apparently calculated using the following equation:

{ [W + (D-d)] x TQ} / M x NA }, where (W) is weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

Yes, a lot of people love Christmas and are sad that it’s now another 350-odd days away. Yes, some people are struggling with debt and failed new year’s resolutions. And yes, the weather in January (on this side of the equator) is rubbish.

But you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to realise that this equation is gibberish.

Still, the travel company somehow managed to convince a couple of low-level academics to promote their supposed findings, which attracted nationwide attention.

And although the science behind Blue Monday was questioned immediately, the term has now become a worldwide phenomenon. Predictably, it is now mostly used by companies on social media to advertise their endless special offers, as a post-Christmas follow-up to Black Friday.

It's not just a harmless urban myth, though. Mental health charities have warned that Blue Monday risks trivializing an important issue. Depression is not a one-day blip; it's a serious medical condition that can affect anyone at any time.

That’s why, in the UK, Samaritans are calling for Blue Monday to be rechristened as Brew Monday, a time for Brits to have a cup of tea, get together and reach out to friends and family.

In terms of its cultural ubiquity, the Luxembourgish equivalent would probably be a crémant day, but I’m not sure that would provide the same effect.

Could Gromperekichelcher Monday work? That doesn’t really roll off the tongue, either.

Any suggestions are welcome. But, once and for all, it’s time to leave Blue Monday to New Order.